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At 5:59 a.m. on Oct. 1, 1964, the signals rang on platform 9 in Tokyo station to announce the departure of “Hikari No. 1,” the first scheduled train on the Tokaido Shinkansen. In the early light of dawn, the train glided past Yurakucho, providing passengers with elevated views of the famous old Nichigeki theater on the left and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Imperial Hotel on the right.

Soon afterward, in the countryside beyond Shin-Yokohama, the train smoothly accelerated. When it was announced over the public address system that the train had reached its maximum speed of 210 kph, it set off cheers, whistles and applause from its jubilant passengers.

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